Evening Star, 3E 432
The Roll Call
Arielle Woodhouse (scribe)
Svontilda Loud-Laugh (presenter)
Julius Cadiusus (present)
Ulrorn Blackbeard (present)
Gondyr Armentine (present)
Orphala Orethi (present)
Artonia Melus (present)
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the previous meeting were not approved for their harsh and uncollegial criticisms of fellow LAHS members.
During an unusually fierce debate over the minutes, a poor choice of words from Vandril led Gondyr to believe that Vandril has been using marked cards in some sort of game between the two of them. Vandril more or less admitted to this and suggested that Gondyr lacked the wit to notice and therefore deserved to lose. This led to a quite undignified exchange of blows, after which Vandril left (swearing revenge and assassins and conjurations and all kinds of terrible things), and I tended to Gondyr's minor wounds.
Since the LAHS required a new scribe, nominations were taken, followed by a vote. Gondyr nominated me, and as there were no other nominations or objections, I, Arielle Woodhouse, am the new scribe of the LAHS. I shall endeavor to be more faithful to the proceedings than my predecessor. I daresay the minutes may be less beer stained and in a more legible hand as well.
The Pledge and Call to Order
As we have guests this evening (welcome Svontilda and Speaks-with-feathers!), the LAHS shall begin with our noble pledge:
We, the members of the Lusty Argonian Historical Society, an official chapter of the Tamriel Historical Society, do hereby pledge to study the past, to respect our ancestors, to seek the truth, to speak clearly, to listen patiently, to debate politely, and to drink and be merry.
After recent events, I think we can all use a gentle reminder about why we are here.
'Presentation: Svontilda Loud-Laugh on the Thu'um
Ulrorn introduced a friend of his by the name of Svontilda who has made a study of the thu'um. Svontilda is a boisterous Nord and quite a character. She had no trouble holding the full attention of the LAHS, especially after promising not just a discussion of the thu'um, but an actual demonstration!
The general sense of Svontilda's speech is that a "thu'um" is a concentrated shout that can break things, move objects, and (at least in legend) sharpen blades, slay foes at a distance, and various seemingly magical deeds. The practice of the thu'um is called "The Way of the Voice," and those who use it are called "Tongues." Svontilda believes the Way of the Voice originally came from Atmora, and that at least some of the legends about it are accurate, though much of the knowledge of the thu'um is now lost. True to her word, Svontilda breaks mugs from across the room, flips the pages of a book without touching it, makes Gondry's drawn sword ring as if struck, and knocks over a chair. Svontilda insists that she has only a basic understanding of the thu'um, and that a true master, even though much knowledge has been lost, can do much more.
After the impressive demonstration, most of the questions naturally involve how to perform a thu'um, but Svontilda says that (ironically) the Way of the Voice cannot be described in words. Learning to make a thu'um requires extensive training and practice, and there is no simple "trick" to it.
Jo'Hamiir seems particularly intrigued by the demonstration and asks if anyone can learn the thu'um or if it is something only Nords (and Atmorans, if any survive) can do. Svontilda does not know, as she's never seen anyone other than a Nord trained in the thu'um. She speculates that anyone could learn to do it, and while it would be unusual for a Tongue to take an apprentice who is not a Nord, she does not know of any traditions that would prevent it.
Dhavin speculates that the thu'um may not be entirely natural. He lists several well-known accounts linking magic with music or song, and he suggests that when one learns the thu'um, one is actually learning a specialized kind of magic. Svontilda seems upset at this notion, and insists that the thu'um is entirely non-magical. However, when pressed, she cannot think of any reason why magic could not explain it. Dhavin asks if anyone born under the Atronach has learned the thu'um (which might suggest a non-magical nature), but Svontilda does not know the answer (she was born under the Thief, and her father, who taught her the thu'um was born under the Tower).
Varinturco has some rather harsh criticisms of Svontilda's demonstration and even accuses her of trickery (of so-called "stage" magic, the kind of tricks sometimes used in lower class theaters that cannot afford Mages Guild fees). He claims that the demonstrated effects of the thu'um could have been done with magic or trickery, especially if she had an accomplice in the LAHS (for instance, someone else pushed the chair over or cast a telekenesis spell while everyone was looking at her). Svontilda offers to demonstrate again under whatever restrictions Varinturco deems necessary, but the Altmer claims that nothing will be necessary, as he already knows it is trickery.
Dhavin and I apologize to Svontilda for the Altmer's unfortunate attitude, and she is gracious enough to accept. Unfortunately, as no one has any further questions, Svontilda's presentation ends with these (surely baseless!) accusations.
The LAHS did not have a scheduled debate this evening, so the debate was mostly over what to debate. There was no final decision, though I did have several very interesting private conversations with LAHS members about the history of Tamriel. Perhaps some of them can be persuaded to turn their specialties into presentations for the edification of their fellow scholars. As these conversations were not officially part of the meeting, they were not recorded.
Motion to Adjorn
There was no official close to the meeting this evening, though the meeting was probably over long before Gondyr and I carried Dhavin and Ulrorn home in a borrowed wheelbarrow. A motion to restrict the quantity of drink may be needed.